ATHENS – A year after Greece touted a deal to bring in migrants workers from Bangladesh to aid with seasonal and other positions, especially in agriculture, the New Democracy government hasn’t reportedly initiated it.
Under a memorandum signed in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka, Greece is supposed to bring in some 4,000 workers annually but The Daily Star, that country’s largest English-language newspaper, said it hasn’t even begun.
The report said the Bangladesh embassy in Athens indicated that the recruitment is stuck because of problems granting visas because Greece doesn’t have an embassy in Bangladesh.
To resolve the problem, Bangladesh has suggested that Greece open a visa forwarding service (VFS) in Dhaka, said officials at the Bangladesh mission as for now Bangladeshis have to go to the Greek embassy in India to apply.
It wasn’t explained why it took a year to figure out that would be a problem nor why there wasn’t a process implemented after the deal was first signed so workers could begin applying in advance.
Bangladesh’s Ambassador in Greece Ashud Ahmed said talks are now underway with Greek officials to try to figure out what to do with spring already here and summer coming, the idea of a VFA on the table.
recently said the mission has been in talks with Greece to find a way to start The recruitment process could be started by the end of July, provided that the VFS is opened, he said, after the Greek government in 2022 said the deal was a way to stop unlawful migration from Bangladesh.
Greece is currently home to more than 28,000 Bangladeshis who are sought after for work in the European Union despite some instances in Greece where they had been mistreated and forced to work without being paid.
When the deal was signed, Greek Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachis said it would support legal migration as Bangladeshis otherwise have to pay human smugglers to get them into Greece.
After the signing, the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare in Bangladesh said Bangladeshi workers will be hired in the “seasonal” category for the agriculture sector that many Greeks shun.
The workers will have to return home upon the expiry of their work permits. They will be able to re-migrate for employment. While applying for a job, Bangladeshi job seekers will have to submit valid travel documents and work contracts, and pay necessary fees, the ministry said.
The regularization of undocumented Bangladeshi migrant workers in Greece started after the Greek authorities launched an online portal to receive applications in January this year, the newspaper noted.
Once an application is approved, Greece will initially provide a “white paper” or temporary residence permit via email which will enable the Bangladeshi to work there legally which could then be extended up to five years residency.